June 16th, 2016
❝This is my brother. He’s severely mentally challenged (aged 40, with a brain of a 5-year-old) and almost blind. He’s akin to my baby; my biggest weakness.
I’ve never spoken about him publicly before, but today I want to say something important about mentally challenged Bravehearts – You can’t pray away their disabilities. I have seen too many families getting cheated of all their savings by self-proclaimed Godmen and donations to temples in hopes that a “miracle” will “cure” their mentally challenged kids. Some go as far as telling families these kids are the cause of all their problems. While I have fought every day so my brother gets all the love and protection in the world, I have watched him suffer and slowly disintegrate away for the past 23 years. I have had to strap down his hands to the bed so he doesn’t hurt himself after surgeries. There is no God who would allow a kid to be born just to suffer this way. And so there is no God who will cure him.
My brother is happy, kind, and brave. He always insists on sharing his food, smiles through the most painful surgeries, and waves at school kids passing by his window. I want to be strong for him, I want to make the world a better place for him, and I want to protect him from everything. When he falls down or gets hurt, the first words out of his mouth are always (translated from Hindi): “I’m all right, Radhu. I’m OK.” And he is. I want him to be OK always.❞
– Radhika R
Often in our lives, we have seen relatives of differently-abled people acting shy while talking about the person, their struggle, and their plight. There are also times when they even refuse to acknowledge them as their relative in normal conversation and would even abstain from taking their name . This happens, not because they don’t love that person, but because of the stigma attached to differently-abled people. This stigma and this reluctance will not end unless we unite against it unless we as a society stand up and speak for them, talk to them and make them a part of this society. The Logical Indian requests the kith and kins of differently-abled people to be proud of them and also be proud of themselves because you are part of something extraordinary which many aren’t. Because you stood for them when nobody else did.